ISPA Code of Ethics

Legal and Ethical Guidelines

This Code of Ethical Conduct and Practice sets out the behavioural norms and standards of professional conduct for members of the International Strategy of Psychotherapists Association (Inc), referred to as ISPA.

ISPA has been established to;

  • To provide an industry-based Association for persons engaged in Strategic Psychotherapy education and practice.
  • To monitor, maintain, set, and improve professional standards in Strategic Psychotherapy and Clinical Hypnotherapy education and practice.
  • To promote the discipline of strategic psychotherapy and clinical hypnotherapy to the general public, professional organisations, and government authorities.
  • To be a self-regulatory body to provide for registration of members.
  • To provide an intermediary body to address and resolve complaints of ISPA members.
  • To provide protection and support to members.

The purpose of this ISPA Code of Conduct is to provide ethical principles and guidelines for ISPA Members as well as assurance for the health and wellbeing of those who engage the services of an ISPA Member.

All ISPA Members are bound by the duties and good spirit of the Code of Ethical Conduct and Practice.

This Code of Ethical Conduct and Practice is used to determine compliance or non-compliance and may be admissible in legal proceedings.

1. Preamble

The maintenance of high ethical standards is of the utmost importance to support the professional standing of Strategic Psychotherapists internationally. All members of ISPA agree to conduct themselves and their practice methods according to this ethical Code.

The Code of Ethical Conduct and Practice exists to:

  • give the public confidence about the level of training ISPA members have gained,
  • give the public confidence in the quality of practice and care they can expect to receive from ISPA members,
  • provide ISPA members, and their clients, with a secure ethical framework for their therapeutic work,
  • describe the values, principles and moral qualities that should inform our clinical work and supervision as Strategic Psychotherapists.

2. International and Domicile practice

Strategic Psychotherapy is a “non- licensed” or “non-regulated” profession within many countries. ISPA members need to comply with the local regulatory requirements where the practice is conducted.

ISPA members will maintain professional conduct at all times. They will not discriminate because of race, religion, age, sex, or national ancestry.

Where there is conflict between this Ethical Code of Conduct and Practise and the local regulatory framework within the country of practice, then the regulatory requirements of that country must be applied. Members must take the necessary steps to seek legal professional advice and report or discuss the conflict with their supervisor. The member is responsible for keeping notes and records of the final decision and the member is responsible for reporting the conflict to the ISPA Secretary.

3. Definitions of Terms

There are many common terms used throughout this document. A full list of them and their meanings are attached to this document, as Appendix 1.

ISPA members are referred to as “therapists’, or “psychotherapists”, irrespective of their psychotherapy modality. All ISPA members have been trained and gained accreditation in the theory, use and application of Strategic Psychotherapy.

4. Member Duties

ISPA is responsible for reviewing, updating, and publishing this Code of Conduct and Practice to its members on a regular basis or when changes in the industry require such a change.

All current members, irrespective of their membership level, are responsible for annually reviewing and updating their practice procedures in accordance with the current contents of this Code.

ISPA members have a primary duty to protect the health and wellbeing of their clients. This means members are required to:

  • respect their client’s dignity, individuality, and privacy
  • be sensitive to cultural differences
  • respect each client’s right to be involved in decisions about their therapy and care
  • be trustworthy and honest
  • provide a good standard of strategic psychotherapy practice
  •  protect their clients from risk of harm
  •  cooperate with other healthcare colleagues as necessary
  •  observe and follow the standards set out in their country of practice and/or by their professional bodies and authorities.
  • maintain all relevant and required insurance policies
  • ensure they provide a safe place to work and visit.

All ISPA Members are personally accountable for their actions and must be able to explain and account for their conduct and performance when asked to do so.

Should an allegation of a breach be made against a Member, the Code of Ethical Conduct and Practice will be used to assess misconduct or inadequate performance. Any member that has been found to have breached the Code of Ethical Conduct and Practice will be subject to action by ISPA in accordance with the ISPA Complaints Procedure. All members are expected, and required, to fully cooperate in any ISPA investigation.

5. Code of Ethical Conduct

A Code of Ethical Conduct and Practice within ISPA provides an ethical and compliance framework for all ISPA members to work towards ‘World Best Ethical Practice’.

5.1. Principles

This Code of Ethical Conduct and Practice has a set of principles and values which underpin ISPA Standards.

5.1.1. Respect for the Dignity of Person and Peoples

The ISPA community respect the views, beliefs, and cultural boundaries of all our clients, valuing their culture, social standing, gender, or any other differences that may be exhibited or expressed by their clients, family, or cultural needs.

  • Values underpinning Respect for the Dignity of Persons and Peoples are:
  • Valuing and respecting everyone’s worth and dignity
  • Appreciating the diversity of cultures, beliefs, gender, and any other differences people may present
  • Enabling the freedom of informed consent
  • Respecting the freedom of choice
  • Regarding the freedom of difference
  • Confirming the freedom of privacy and confidentiality of all personal information
  • Recognizing fairness, equality and justice underpins equal treatment for all.

5.1.2. Competent Caring for The Welfare and Wellbeing of Persons

Competent caring for the welfare and wellbeing of persons means enabling and delivering maximum benefit, as well as doing no harm, for all clients, their families, and communities.

Competent caring for client’s welfare and wellbeing means working with them to enhance the benefits of the psychotherapeutic intervention. This is irrespective of any social or cultural barriers which the client may present. Building rapport, having a good understanding of the issues being presented as well as creating a robust clinical relationship is crucial to the successful delivery of the client wellbeing.
Members are encouraged to develop self-knowledge regarding the impact their own values, experiences, culture, and social context might have on the actions they take and the interpretations they make due to the clients’ presenting issues.

Should an abreaction or other harmful reaction occur, the member must offset or correct the potential harm. The incident must be discussed with their supervisor and a record kept by both parties to the discussion.

Values underpinning Competent caring for the welfare and wellbeing of persons:

  • Having concern for the well-being of clients, their families, and their community,
  • Directing all care to do no harm to clients, and their families
  • Remaining within the framework of one’s skills, competence, and experience to best treat the client’s issues
  • Providing quality treatment to clients, their families, and their communities
  • Offsetting or correcting an abreaction or any other reaction to treatment which may occur
  • Maintaining continued therapy development and level of competence required to treat the ever-changing issues presented by the client
  • Recognizing that the member’s personal values, attitudes, social bias, and personal conflict may affect the therapy of the client, AND taking the necessary precautions to minimise this affect
  • Respecting the ability of the client to make informed decisions and care for their own needs and those of their family or community.

5.1.3. Integrity

Integrity is vital to enabling and maintaining public confidence in the discipline of strategic psychotherapy. Members must ensure they consistently apply strong moral principles, are honest, truthful, and accurate always.

Maintaining integrity allows members to manage any potential biases, relationships or conflicts of interest that could result in the exploitation of clients. Being open with information, whilst also consistently considering the value of ethical principles, protects the safety and confidentiality of clients, whilst also respecting their cultural needs.

Values of Integrity are:

  • Having communications which are robust, honest, truthful, open, and accurate
  • Delivering on what has been agreed or promised
  • Doing the right thing for the client’s best interest, all the time
  • Disclosing client information carefully, and after considered thought, if the member believes any potential exists for the client to harm themselves, children, or other people.
  • Always being impartial and leaving all bias out of treatment
  • Ensuring clients are not exploited for financial, professional, personal gain or reward
  • Declare any conflict of interest if they are unavoidable

5.1.4. Professional and scientific responsibilities to Society

Strategic Psychotherapy has certain responsibilities to society, which includes contributing to the knowledge about human behaviour and further developing the understanding of human behaviour, values, beliefs, and cognition in relation to maintaining mental health.

Members should use their knowledge to improve the condition of their clients, their family or community. It is expected they will apply the highest ethical standards which contributes to the development of therapeutic interventions and improvements for the benefit of society. This responsibility extends to being culturally appropriate with ethical principles and values.

Values for Professional and Scientific Responsibilities to Society are:

  • Allowing for the safety and well-being of society
  • Growing scientific and professional knowledge of Strategic Psychotherapy and its intervention modalities to provide for the safety and well-being of society
  • Protecting Strategic Psychotherapy and its knowledge from being misused through incompetence or inappropriate actions
  • Ensuring the well-being of society which is reliant upon the educational and ethical conduct of ISPA members as well as their contribution to scientific professional education
  • Requiring all ISPA members to be educated in their ethical responsibilities and accountabilities
  • Providing further development and implementation of cultural and ethical awareness to its members consistently.

6. Code of Practice

This Code of Practice applies the values and ethical principles outlined above to more specific situations which may arise in the practice of Strategic psychotherapy.

Many sections of the Code of Practice are interrelated. Please keep this in mind when reading and applying this Code.

Resolving Conflicts Between Ethical Priorities
Members may find themselves caught between conflicting ethical principles which could involve issues of public interest. In these circumstances, they are urged to consider the specific situation in which they find themselves and discuss it with their supervisor and/or other experienced members.
Even after conscientious consideration of the salient issues, some ethical dilemmas cannot be resolved easily or wholly satisfactorily. In all such cases careful and complete notes should be kept – especially in relation to what consultation has taken place, and with whom.

6.1. Anti-Discriminatory Practices

Members need to avoid discriminatory practices through including the following in all their interactions with clients, families, and communities.

  • Client Respect. Members working with clients do so in ways which affirm both the common humanity and uniqueness of each person. Members must be sensitive to the cultural context and worldview of the client, for instance whether the individual, family or the community is taken as central.
  • Client Autonomy. Members are responsible for working in ways that respect and promote the client’s ability to make decisions in the light of his/her own beliefs, values, and context.
  • Member Awareness. Members are responsible for ensuring that any problems with mutual comprehension due to language, cultural differences or for any other reason are addressed at an early stage. The use of an interpreter needs to be carefully considered at the outset of strategic psychotherapy.
    Members have a responsibility to consider and address their own prejudices, stereotyping attitudes, and behaviour. They are to give particular consideration to ways in which these may affect the strategic psychotherapy relationship and influence their responses.
  • No stereotyping. Members must not impose on their clients any stereotypes of behaviour, values, or roles related to age, gender, religion, race, ethnicity, disability, nationality, sexual preference, diagnosis, or any other factor which would interfere with the objective provision of providing therapeutic services to the clients.

6.2. Responsibility to client

Members are personally responsible for making sure they promote and protect the best interests of their clients. To achieve this, members must:

  • provide the best possible standard of strategic psychotherapy or hypnotherapy care to your clients
  • act with honesty and integrity in all interactions with clients, care givers, and associates
  • not exploit or abuse the therapeutic relationship with clients
  • not act to deceive or coerce clients in any way
  • be sensitive to cultural differences and not allow one’s beliefs or values about a clients’ age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation to adversely affect the way therapeutic services or professional advice is provided
  • be sensitive to factors such as a client’s lifestyle to provide a good standard of strategic psychotherapy
  • avoid misunderstandings by making reasonable efforts to answer clients’ questions and avoid any apparent misunderstandings about the therapeutic services to be performed.
  • when providing information members must use language that is reasonably understandable to the client, whenever possible
  • establish with clients at the outset of strategic psychotherapy if they are involved in other therapeutic or helping relationships. It is important to consider whether strategic psychotherapy is still appropriate.
  • gain the client’s permission before conferring in any way with other professional workers.

Client Self Determination
During strategic psychotherapy sessions, the balance of power is unequal, and members must take care not to abuse their power. Members do not normally act on behalf of their clients. If they do, it will only be with express written consent of their client, or else in exceptional circumstances. Ericksonian based therapy holds to the principle that clients are responsible and able to make their own decisions, thus members do not normally give direct and specific advice

Protection of vulnerable people
A member must safeguard and promote the welfare of children, young people, and adults with additional vulnerabilities to whom they provide services.

Members must cooperate with any local disclosure procedures via local statutory social services concerning any children, young people or any persons with additional needs who are considered to be at risk of suffering significant harm due to physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional abuse or neglect.

ISPA recommends all Members have current security checks in place. For example, DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service), Police Check, Working with Children Check etc. These, or similar checks are often mandatory in countries across the world. The member must know the security checks for the country where they practise or offer services.

The member must hold the additional relevant check when working with all children under 18 and any persons with additional needs. ISPA members recommend: ‘If the client is a child under the age of 16, another person should always be present. This may be someone with parental responsibility’

If a member has concerns about the welfare of a child, young person or vulnerable adult, their concerns need to be discussed with a supervisor. If after these discussions, it is considered the person is at risk, or may be in need, a mandatory report must be made to the relevant statutory services, e.g., children services, police. This includes cases when it is considered someone may be at risk of suffering significant harm.

In general, discuss concerns with the child, young person, or vulnerable adult – as far as their age and understanding allow and with their parents or guardians. The parent/guardian should be notified that a report has been made. You should try to get their agreement to make a referral to statutory social services, unless you consider that such a discussion would place the child or yourself at risk of significant harm or danger.

Referral
When the member needs to refer their client to a medical practitioner or medical health care provider, e.g., nurse, social worker, it is considered best practice is to refer them back to their GP who will on refer on to others.

Breaks and Termination of Therapy
Members work with clients to reach a recognised ending when clients:

  • have received the help they sought or
  • or members see strategic psychotherapy is apparently no longer helping or
  • wish to terminate their treatment.

External circumstances may lead to termination for other reasons which are not therapeutic.

Members must make arrangements to care for the immediate needs of clients should a sudden and unforeseen ending by the member be required.

Members should take care to prepare their clients appropriately for any planned breaks from their sessions. They should also take steps to ensure the wellbeing of their clients during such breaks.

6.3. Personal and Professional conduct

Members must maintain high standards of personal conduct as well as professional conduct. They are expected to be law-abiding and of good character. ISPA members are expected to display honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness.

Termination of membership
ISPA membership will be terminated if a member is convicted of a criminal offence involving one of the following types of behaviour:

  • Violence
  • Abuse
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Drink-driving offences where someone was hurt or killed
  • Serious offences involving dishonesty
  • Any serious criminal offences for which you received a prison sentence.
  • Drug or alcohol related offences, including dealing and supply.

If a member is convicted of a criminal offence or has accepted either a written or verbal Police caution, the ISPA National Secretary must be informed at the earliest opportunity. Each case will be considered individually as to fitness for continuing ISPA Membership. A membership decision will be made in the light of the circumstances of each case.

Personal Conduct
A member must inform ISPA National Secretary if they have any relevant information about their own conduct or competence that may impair their judgement or ability to practise. Members must let ISPA if they are:

  • convicted of a criminal offence (other than a minor motoring offence)
  • accepting a Police caution
  • disciplined by any organisation responsible for regulating or licensing a healthcare practitioner or social care profession
  • suspended or placed under a practice restriction order by an employer or similar organisation because of concerns about their conduct or competence
  • asked, or has been asked, to leave a professional association or register

Members are required to co-operate with any ISPA investigation or formal inquiry into professional conduct, performance or health, or the conduct of any other healthcare provider where appropriate.

Modifying one’s practice when impaired by certain physical or mental conditions
A member must not practise while suffering from any physical or mental impairment, condition, or disorder (including an addiction to alcohol or a drug whether prescribed or not) which is likely to detrimentally affect their ability to practice strategic psychotherapy or which places clients at risk of harm.

If a member has concerns regarding another ISPA member i.e., they believe the member might be failing to meet this requirement, their concerns should be raised with the ISPA Standards Officer.

All members should understand how their own wellbeing and health may compromise the provision of a good standard of practice. Members need to be reflective of their practice and should consider seeking and acting on any advice from qualified medical practitioners and/or supervisors.

Actions in a professional practice which might undermine public confidence or bring the profession into disrepute would include:

  • Involving clients in, or telling them about, arguments between members or other healthcare professionals
  • Undermining, bullying, gaslighting or defaming other members without due cause or with vexatious intent. This behaviour is not accepted under any circumstances.
  • Soliciting the clients of other healthcare professionals.
  • Areas of a member’s life which might undermine public confidence or bring the
    profession into disrepute include, for example, misuse of drugs or alcohol, convictions for fraud or dishonesty, convictions related to violence, sexual abuse, or the use of pornography.

6.4. Contract with Client / Informed consent

No services can be offered or practised without gaining informed consent from the client.
A member must obtain adequate informed consent prior to providing therapeutic services. In certain circumstances it might not be possible to obtain adequate informed consent, a member must then attempt to obtain informed assent prior to providing services.

Members must document the informed consent and/or assent. If no consent or assent can be confirmed, member must document the steps taken to obtain it and the basis for proceeding without either in the client record.

Elements of informed consent
Elements for informed consent may vary depending upon the particular circumstances. It is important to recognise consent is not a “one-off” exercise or discussion. It is a continuous process and needs effective and ongoing communication with the client.
The member must ensure the following general elements are satisfied when seeking informed consent:

  1. The discussion of consent is conducted in a language easily understood by all.
  2. The client has the capacity to consent.
  3. The client has been informed of all appropriate significant information concerning the therapeutic service(s); unless there is a clear exception which has been agreed upon ahead of time, or unless it is not reasonably possible to obtain consent.
  4. The client has freely and without undue influence expressed their consent.
  5. The client has been informed of:
    1. the procedures of the therapy,
    2. fees for the intended service(s)
    3. limits of confidentiality including how information is collected, recorded, used, stored, for how long, who has access and how.
  6. Consent has been obtained in writing where possible; and the consent of the client, or of other appropriate persons where the client is not legally capable of giving informed consent, has been appropriately documented in the member’s practice record for the client.
  7. The client may decide to participate, decline to participate, or wish to withdraw from services or procedures offered.
  8. There may be certain conditions where the member may withdraw or terminate the therapeutic services.

A person has capacity if they can understand, remember, use, and weigh up the information needed to make an informed decision, and can communicate their wishes.
It should always be assumed adults have the capacity to make a decision unless it is shown to be otherwise.

Lack of capacity to give informed consent
If a person is considered unable to give informed consent, another person with legal authority to do so, may give written consent on their behalf. E.g. primary care givers, parents, or those with parental responsibility of a child under 16 years old.

Children under 16 years of age
When working with young people, members need to determine the capacity of the young person to provide informed consent. This young person is deemed to have given informed consent when they can demonstrate a level of adequate or competent understanding and shows the ability to apply knowledge of what is being proposed.

For children younger than 16 years old, the person with parental responsibility should give written consent on behalf of that child. Members must always make reference to the regulatory situation in the jurisdiction of their practice, in particular any Family and Children Acts which define conditions of parental responsibility.

Persons deemed to be legally incapacitated
If an individual is deemed to be not legally capable of giving an informed consent to a member, the member must:

  1. obtain any necessary documentation to determine the identity of all parties with legal entitlement to provide or withhold consent for services. A copy needs to be kept on the client’s record.
  2. provide an appropriate and understandable explanation of the services to the individual.
  3. obtain informed written consent
  4. where possible obtain the individual’s assent to the procedure or intervention; and
  5. document the explanation and any consents and assents in the client’s record.

Observing and recording
When therapeutic sessions with a client are to be observed by a third party or recorded in any mechanical or electronic manner for audio or visual purposes, a member must obtain informed consent from the client or the client’s legal guardian in advance.

6.5. Responsibility to Colleagues and Others

Respecting others
A member must, in their work-related activities and professional relationships, respect the rights of others to hold values, attitudes, and opinions that differ from their own. This includes not engaging in bullying, gaslighting, undermining or defaming clients, work colleagues and others.

Professional cooperation
A member must seek to work co-operatively with other professionals in a professional and cooperative manner, for the good of, and best interests of, their clients.

A member must respect the skills and contributions others bring to the wellbeing of their client. A member must not attempt to dissuade clients from seeking or continuing treatment by their registered medical practitioner.

When working in a team, a member must remain accountable for their professional conduct, the care or professional advice they provide, any failure to act, and any reason for tasks they may delegate. There is a particular need to be clear about who is responsible for the safekeeping of client records.

6.6. Confidentiality

A member must always respect the confidentiality of their clients. This duty of confidentiality towards their client is fundamental to the trust placed in the therapist to ensure successful therapeutic outcomes.

A member must disclose the limits of any confidentiality to their clients at the earliest opportunity and before informed consent is obtained. A member must not knowingly release any personal or confidential information to anyone who is not entitled to it.

A member must check people who ask for client information are entitled to it and are adherent to all related laws protecting data and codes of confidentiality.

If a member works with others, such as other practitioners, healthcare workers and practice staff, it is important there are proper confidentiality and privacy procedures in place. All should be aware of their duty of confidentiality, whether they have professional or contractual obligations to protect confidentiality or not.

A member must protect the privacy of any client’s health records in their financial management system where a bookkeeper or accountant is employed.

Informing about limits of confidentiality
A member must inform clients at the commencement of the professional relationship of the limits of confidentiality to be maintained by the member, and by any other person engaged in the provision of therapeutic services to them who is under the member’s supervision.

Multiple clients
When therapeutic services are rendered to more than one client who have a relationship, whether in a joint session or otherwise, a member must at the beginning of the professional relationship:

  • clarify for all clients the way confidentiality will be handled; and
  • provide all clients with the opportunity to discuss and accept whatever limitations to confidentiality apply before proceeding.

The client is entitled to presume the member and their staff have the same approach to confidentiality. The member must ensure that anyone who has access to their client’s personal information, understands it is accessible to them in confidence and they must treat it accordingly.

Ongoing confidentiality
A member must continue to treat as confidential all information regarding a client after the professional relationship between the member and the client has ended. This ongoing period of confidentiality lasts for 7 years from the date of the last session between the member and client.

6.6.1. Disclosure of confidential information

Except as otherwise permitted by law, including this Code, a member may only disclose confidential information about a client to a third party if the client has provided written consent.

For purposes of determining whether a member is permitted or required to disclose confidential information under this Code without the client’s written consent requires a court-based subpoena.

Information shared must only relate to the specific reason for the request and in relation to the purpose of using that information.

Members need to seek legal professional advice in each case within their jurisdiction of practice.

A member may disclose confidential client information without the informed written consent of the client if:

  1. the member determines that disclosure is necessary to protect against a clear and substantial risk of imminent serious harm being inflicted by the client on themself, or on another individual
  2. the member determines that disclosure is necessary to protect an identifiable child, consistent with applicable law
  3. the member determines that disclosure is necessary to protect a vulnerable adult who by virtue of condition or circumstance is unable to seek support or assistance for abuse or neglect, consistent with applicable law
  4. it is in accordance with any other lawful requirement to do so.

Clients without legal capacity
At the beginning of a professional relationship with a client who is a minor or who is under a legal disability, a member must inform the client in an appropriate and understandable way of the legal exceptions to confidentiality regarding communications with the member

Client access to the clinical record
A member must provide access to and permit the reproduction and release of confidential information about a client when requested by that client, unless there is a significant likelihood that disclosure of the information would cause:

  1. a substantial adverse effect on the client’s physical, mental, or emotional health
  2. harm to a third party.

Seeking legal advice
Different and sometimes competing legal requirements may bear on a release of information request. It is a member’s responsibility to seek professional legal advice as needed to ensure that information requests are handled with due consideration of all legal requirements relevant to the particular circumstance at hand under the jurisdiction where the service is offered.

Sharing with professionals
When rendering therapeutic services as part of a professional team or when interacting with other professionals concerning the welfare of a client, a member may share confidential information about the client if:

  1. the member takes steps to ensure that all persons receiving the information are informed about the confidential nature of the information in accordance with this Code
  2. the member informs the client in advance that the client’s confidential information will be shared with other practitioners of the professional team
  3. The member only shares information relevant to the purpose of sharing that information for the welfare of the client.

6.6.2. Exceptional Circumstances

Exceptional circumstances may arise which give the member good grounds for believing serious harm may occur to the client or to other people. In such circumstance the client’s consent to change the agreement about confidentiality should be sought whenever possible, unless there are also good grounds for believing the client is no longer willing or able to take responsibility for his/her actions.
Normally, the decision to break confidentiality should be discussed with the client and should be made only after consultation with a supervisor or an experienced member.

Any disclosure of confidential information should be restricted to relevant information, conveyed only to appropriate people and for appropriate reasons likely to alleviate the exceptional circumstances.
The ethical considerations include achieving a balance between acting in the best interest of the client and dealing with the exceptional circumstances.
While members hold different views about breaking confidentiality, such as potential self-harm, suicide, and harm to others, they must also consider those put forward in interests of the client and the member’s responsibilities under the law and to the wider community.

These circumstances should be communicated to both clients and significant others e.g., supervisor, agency,

6.7. Privacy and Data protection

Data protection and /or privacy legislation details its requirements regarding transparency, information-giving requirements, as well as data subject rights.

The data subject rights include, for example, the right to be forgotten, the right to access personal data, and the right to have data corrected and erased.

Each member is responsible for keeping up to date with current legislation (ref GDPR, DPA, Privacy) and any legislation that occurs relating to the jurisdiction in which they practice.

Processing personal data includes, but is not limited to holding, obtaining, recording, using, and disclosing information.

Privacy policies should be in place and communicated effectively to clients, staff, and relevant service providers.

A member must only retain or use information about a client:

  • To continue to provide care for that person
  • To satisfy legal, financial or insurance requirements
  • For purposes where that person has given express consent to use the information, for example to a third party
  • If a member has good cause to believe that the client, the member, or others (or the public) may be harmed if the information is not disclosed.

6.8. Management of privacy, data, and admin systems

Length of record retention
A member must ensure all information in their professional records concerning a client is maintained for not less than seven years after the last date professional services were rendered to that client.

A member must keep records relating to minors for not less than seven years following the date the minor reached the age of majority

A member must use their judgment in those circumstances in which it may be appropriate to maintain their professional records for longer than seven years.

Content of records
A member must keep records for all their client sessions which are a true representation of their interaction with clients.

A member should maintain records which are complete and legible and include the following:

  1. the name and contact information of the client
  2. the presenting problem(s) or the purpose of the consultation
  3. the fee arrangement
  4. the date and substance of each professional service, including relevant information on interventions, progress, any issues of informed consent, and issues related to termination
  5. notations and any results of formal consultations with other service providers
  6. any releases or consents executed by the client; copies of any emails or other communications related to the file.

Location of records
Practice records must be maintained or stored at the member’s primary place of practice. They need always be under the sole control of the member, or of another appointed member, or in a professional storage facility obligated to provide confidential and secure storage.

Records stored in software on Personal computers or “in the cloud” need to be password protected and have the necessary privacy controls in place.

Security of records
A member must ensure that:

  1. the records of all their professional services, including those of their supervisees, are secured, including but not limited to by restricting access to files, locking file cabinets, and providing secure storage for files.
  2. the privacy of all client information and data is assured.
  3. if a professional storage facility is used it maintains appropriate security practices.

Electronic/optical storage security
When client information is prepared, kept, or maintained by electronic or optical techniques, a member must ensure that these techniques are designed and operated so that the information is reasonably secure from loss, tampering, interference, or unauthorized use or access. A member must also take all reasonable steps to ensure any electronic/optical storage is updated as necessary to ensure the information remains accessible if previous storage strategies become obsolete.

Information on the practice arrangement, including terms and conditions, fee structure, cancellation policy, data privacy policy, how you may be contacted, location of work, and any joint working arrangements if you work in collaboration with others should be easily available to clients.

A member should deal respectfully, promptly, and fairly with any complaint and tell any complainants that they have the right to resolve an unresolved complaint with ISPA or your country’s Association or register.

Data protection
Members must give clients access to their personal records upon request, in accordance with legislative rights. This must be done in writing, within a reasonable time, bearing in mind any concerns about the impact that information may have on the client or others.

6.9. Professional Documentation

A member must appropriately document their professional work in order to:

  1. facilitate provision of services in the future by themself or by other professional service providers
  2. ensure accountability; and
  3. meet other legal or institutional requirements.

All reports, letters, or other documents containing information, opinions, or assessments prepared by a member in the course of that member’s professional services must be signed by the member before they are provided to another party, in order to ensure authorship/responsibility is clear.

Electronic Documents
For the purposes of electronically created, transmitted, or filed documents, “signing” a document may include affixing an electronic signature or providing some other method of identification and authentication when the document is sent that ensures authorship/responsibility is clear.

7. Boundaries and Scope of Service

7.1. Boundaries with clients

A Member must consider their conduct with regards to clients, colleagues, and others. The safety of all clients must come before any personal, commercial, business, and professional loyalties at all times.

Members are responsible for setting and monitoring boundaries throughout any interactions or in the strategic psychotherapy session. They need to clearly state to clients that strategic psychotherapy is a formal and contracted relationship and nothing else. These include physical, emotional, and socially intimate relationship boundaries.

The strategic psychotherapy must not be concurrent with a supervisory, training, or other form of relationship (sexual or non-sexual).

The professional relationship between a member and a client depends on confidence and trust. The clients’ safety whilst in the member’s care, must be a primary consideration. A member must not do (or omit to do) anything or allow anything to be done by others under their instruction which could put the client or another associated person at risk of harm.

A member who displays sexualised behaviour towards a client breaks that trust, acts unprofessionally and may also be committing a criminal act. Breaches of sexual boundaries by member can damage confidence in healthcare professionals generally and lessen the trust between clients, their families and member.

Sexualised behaviour is defined as: ‘acts, words or behaviour designed or intended to arouse or gratify sexual impulses or desires’

If a member finds themselves sexually attracted to clients or their carers, it is their responsibility not to act on these feelings and to recognise the harm that any such actions can cause.

If a member is sexually attracted to a client and is concerned that it may affect their professional relationship with the client (or if they believe a client is sexually attracted to them), the member should consult with their supervisor in the first instance. If, having received advice, they do not believe the member can remain objective and professional, the member must end the therapeutic relationship and recommend the client sources another therapist. Members need to ensure there is a proper handover of the client and their irrelevant information.

Engaging in sexual activity with a current client will constitute sexual misconduct regardless of whether the client consented to the activity or not. The circumstances of each professional/client relationship are different. In the event of a finding of misconduct the member will be under scrutiny, with regards to both the interpersonal relationship and their professional standing.

Members are prohibited from sexual activity with all current and former clients for a minimum of two years from cessation of strategic psychotherapy.

Physical contact with a client during therapy must be clearly explained with full recorded consent of the client.

A member should be aware of any conflicts of interest in their work and act in accordance with the Code

Health and Safety
A member must implement the relevant health and safety laws for their jurisdiction and manage any risks to health and safety in their work environment. The clinic space and any access areas, waiting or reception spaces must be fit for purpose for psychotherapy, offering adequate facilities in terms of cleanliness, privacy, comfort, and safety.

Legislation ensuring health and safety in the workplace include caring for the physical environment at work, the air, sound, light, water, and electrical conditions. Ensuring there are adequate controls of hazardous substances as well the necessary information and training regarding moving and handling heavy materials.

Members need to take appropriate action in response to adverse events

  1. A member must take appropriate and timely measures to minimise harm to clients when an adverse event occurs while providing treatment or care.
  2. A member must:
  3. ensure that appropriate first aid is available to deal with any adverse event
  4. obtain appropriate emergency assistance in the event of any serious adverse event
  5. promptly disclose the adverse event to the client and take appropriate remedial steps to reduce the risk of recurrence
  6. report the adverse event to the relevant authority, where appropriate

Covid-19
If a member is diagnosed with infectious medical conditions, e.g., COVID – 19, the member needs to comply with the public health instructions for their jurisdiction. This may or may not involve public health instructions regarding vaccinations. Most countries view health providers as essential workers and require they are fully vaccinated. The client must be protected at all times. The member must know and implement their public health regulations.

A member who has been diagnosed with a medical condition that can be passed on to clients must ensure that he or she practises in a manner that does not put clients at risk. The member must take and follow advice from a suitably qualified registered health practitioner on the necessary steps to be taken to modify his or her practice to avoid the possibility of transmitting that condition to clients.

Boundaries with Former Clients
Members remain accountable for relationships with former clients and must exercise caution over entering into friendships, business relationships, training, supervising and other relationships. Any changes in relationships must be discussed in supervision. The decision about any change(s) in relationships with former clients should consider whether the issues and power dynamics present during the therapeutic relationship have been resolved.

Dual and Multiple Roles
Where possible, members are to avoid dual or even multiple roles with clients. For example, slipping between the roles of teacher, coach, and member, bartering services with clients
and friends, offering payment breaks to clients (thus, becoming a creditor), providing strategic psychotherapy services to friends and family, engaging in a social (platonic) relationship with a client, accepting gifts from clients or going into business with clients.

In rural and regional areas particularly, dual roles are difficult to avoid. A member may have clients which include their local banker, school teachers – where their children attend – and local restauranteurs, where they dine.

Thus, members are encouraged to discuss this during supervision for the impact of dual roles can be pervasive and difficult to manage.

Dual relationships create boundary problems and ethical concerns. Multiple relationships could lead to conflict of interests and a breach of ethical codes. The welfare of the client must not be compromised in any way which could lead to harming client wellbeing. Any conflict of interest must be resolved, thus minimising any harm to clients. It may lead to perceptions of exploitation.

When a member enters multiple relationships all consideration of ethical issues must be considered, along with all legal issues.

A member who cannot avoid multiple relationships needs to ensure the different roles do not damage their ability to perform their psychotherapy services professionally, productively, and impartially. They must continually ensure they do not harm their clients or others in any way, nor exploit or take advantage of clients or others in any way.

A member must discontinue services with a client who has been compromised. The member must refer the client to another therapist and end professional services in a sensitive manner.

7.2. Scope of service

7.2.1. Limits on practice

A member must act within the limits of their knowledge, skills, and experience
The member must keep within the scope of their practice and be guided in this by the level of their therapy training, qualification, and experience.

The member’s duty of care to a client includes the obligation to advise them about further support or treatment they may find useful if it becomes clear their clinical needs are beyond the member ‘s own scope of practice.

7.2.2. Telepractice, Telehealth or Online Therapy

This refers to offering services through telephone or other digital means. All face-to-face therapy provisions apply to clients who receive telehealth services.

A Member who offers services to clients through telehealth are additionally responsible for:

  1. ensuring they are knowledgeable and competent in the use of the proffered technology, including any security issues related to that technology as well as the impact using technology might have on clients
  2. engaging in appropriate risk management practices to address potential information security risks
  3. ensuring each prospective client is fully informed regarding the service, including potential limitations to the service and threats to confidentiality and security of information specifically related to the technology,
  4. including the use of technology in the informed consent prior to proceeding
  5. ensuring they have any necessary liability insurance coverage which includes use of technology

In addition, if offering telehealth services to clients in another jurisdiction, the member must:

  1. determine any obligations for registration or licensure with the appropriate regulatory body in the other jurisdiction, and ensure they comply with those requirements; and
  2. determine any legal and/or ethical requirements for providing services in the other jurisdiction and maintain compliance with those requirements.

7.3. Responsibility to Self

The provision of therapeutic services and emotional care to clients is emotionally and personally taxing. Members need to protect themselves, and other members, to ensure their own wellbeing and prevent burnout.

7.3.1. Responsibility for self-care

Seeking assistance
A member needs to maintain their own physical and mental health sufficient to carry out professional work. When they become aware of any personal problems which may interfere with them performing their work-related duties adequately, the member must take any appropriate measures, such as obtaining professional consultation or assistance; and determine whether they should limit, suspend, or terminate their work-related duties.

Members must have a zero-tolerance alcohol and illicit drug policy in their workplace. For members, no alcohol, or illicit drugs up to eight hours before treating a client – and of course during their working hours.
Members are responsible for monitoring their functioning and will not provide services when their functioning is impaired by alcohol or drugs (be they illicit or licit). In situations of personal or emotional difficulty, excessive tiredness or illness, members will monitor the point at which they are no longer competent to practice and act accordingly. Members should always err on the side of caution in such circumstances.

Competence includes being able to recognise when it is appropriate to refer a client elsewhere and when to step back and take a rest or holiday.

7.3.2. Knowledge of Strategic Psychotherapy and its Practice

Members who offer therapeutic services must demonstrate interpersonal and therapeutic skills that would reasonably be regarded by their peers as being sufficient and of the standard required for those services. These include:

  1. interpersonal competence as well as an ability to establish rapport and a working therapeutic alliance which serves the client’s best interests
  2. active self-awareness which is sufficient to protect the client from unintended harm
  3. knowledge of client-specific factors sufficient for sensitive, culturally competent therapeutic services
  4. an ability to appropriately process interpersonal events within the therapeutic relationship
  5. Ability to apply Ericksonian and Gordian Therapy practises to deliver benefit to their client
  6. willingness to refer the client to another resource when for any reason, including a mismatch between client characteristics and therapeutic services, referral is in the best interests of the client.

7.3.3. Ongoing Professional Development

Members who have achieved the required level of competence in strategic psychotherapy must maintain and improve their competence through continuing professional development as well as regular and ongoing supervision.

Members must actively monitor their own competence through strategic psychotherapy supervision and be willing to consider views expressed by their clients and other members.

Members should keep current and up to date with any new innovations in their field of practice. All members will only work within the training and knowledge acquired through approved sources.

Empirical foundation of hypnosis-based interventions
A member who performs hypnotic interventions must be familiar with the reliability, validity, related standardization, and outcome studies of the techniques they use. They should also have been trained in the proper applications and uses of those techniques.

New competencies
A member who is attaining competency in a service, technique, or intervention that is unfamiliar or new to them or to the profession must seek appropriate education and training in that service, technique, or intervention; and engage in ongoing consultation with other members or appropriate professionals.

Client Issues beyond competence
If a client presents issues which are outside the competence of a member, that member must refer that aspect of the intervention, or the client to another qualified professional.
Refer to Section 7.1.2 – limits of practice for further details.

7.3.4. Exhaustion or Burnout

A member must refrain from accepting or continuing psychotherapeutic work in any area if they know or should know there is a substantial likelihood that their personal problems (e.g., physical illness, mental disorder, substance abuse, life situation, or other problem) may prevent them from performing in a competent manner, or may otherwise harm a client, colleague, or other person with whom they have a professional relationship.

Burnout is considered to be a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It is usually associated with feelings of overwhelm, being emotionally drained and unable to meet constant daily demands.

Members who feel they are either approaching burnout or are in a state of burnout need to seek appropriate support and help for themselves and for their clients and practise.

7.4. Supervision

Supervision refers to the clinical support, discussion, education, and coaching members need in order to remain current and maintain their professional excellence.

Continuing membership of ISPA requires all members to have a predetermined number of hours of supervision, with a qualified supervisor, annually. Refer to membership criteria for specific details.

Supervision to ensure standards
A member who supervises others in the provision of psychological services must ensure that the services provided by the supervisee meet professional standards and the requirements of this Code.
A supervising member must themselves be appropriately qualified to provide supervision for other members.

Supervising members are responsible for ensuring they do not offer supervision services for an inappropriate purpose or to someone who lacks the requisite basic education, training, and/or experience to undertake strategic psychotherapy services. They are also responsible for ensuring the purpose, intent, and substance of their supervision services meet the intended objectives of the member seeking the supervision services.

When uncertain as to whether a particular situation or course of action may be in violation of the Code of Ethics and Practice, members must consult with their strategic psychotherapy supervisor and/or other more experienced practitioners.

Supervisory records
A member must maintain records of their supervision for a minimum of seven years after the last date of supervision.

The records need to include, among other information, the type, place, and general content of the session, including any directions given to the supervisee.

A supervisor must also maintain supervision records, which include any evaluations or other communications, written or otherwise, provided regarding the supervisee

8. Fees and Insurances

A member must:

  1. respect the client’s right to know what fees and charges will be charged
  2. ensure that full financial information is provided to the client including, but not limited to, fee structure, missed appointments, interest on overdue accounts, and bill collection
  3. set reasonable fees and charges
  4. collect these fees and charges with consideration for the welfare of the client
  5. not mislead or withhold from the client, a prospective client, or a third-party payer, any information about the cost of the member’s professional services.

8.1. Reasonableness

A member must not exploit any client or third-party payer by charging a fee which is excessive for the professional services performed or enter into an exploitive bartering arrangement in place of a fee.

Barter
Barter is the acceptance of goods, services, or other nonmonetary remuneration from clients in return for psychotherapeutic services. Members may barter only if it is not clinically contraindicated; and the resulting arrangement is not exploitative to the client.

Members must check the details of barter agreements in the jurisdiction in which they practise.

Record of fees
A member must maintain a record of fees charged to and received from a client or third-party payer and make it available to a client or third-party payer upon request. The record must contain the following information:

  1. the service provider
  2. the contact details of the client
  3. the date, nature, and unit fee of the service provided
  4. the total charged
  5. the payment received
  6. the date and source of payment
  7. any other information that the client may need to obtain insurance reimbursement, such as diagnostic codes, length of session, etc.

Gifts
A member must not accept a gift of more than token value from a client.

8.2. Professional Insurance

A member must have suitable professional indemnity and malpractice insurance, and any other insurances regulated in the jurisdiction in which the member practises.

A member is personally liable to individual clients for any assessment or care provided in the provision of their services.

It is important to inform the insurance company about any changes in the members circumstances that affect their policy, including providing telehealth services. It is recommended members check with their insurance provider that they have enough ‘run-off’ cover to continue to protect them when the member ceases to practice.

9. Marketing

Most countries allow healthcare service providers (both regulated and non-regulated) to market their services directly to the public. All of them have standards and guidelines which are relevant to the kind of service being offered.

Members must ensure they know and abide by the marketing and advertising regulations for their service within their jurisdiction where they practice.

Accurate representation of credentials
A member must accurately represent, and must not exaggerate, their area(s) of competence, education, training, experience, and professional affiliations, to ISPA, the general public, and their colleagues.

9.1. Marketing Guidelines

The following marketing guidelines are to be followed by all members and staff in their practise.

    1. A member must always protect their client’s privacy when dealing with business and marketing activities
    2. A member must gain written consent for the use of any client testimonials and further specific written consent to disclose their name
    3. A member should include their registration number from their registration Association on all advertisements for their services
    4. A member who interprets the science or the practice of Strategic Psychotherapy to the general public must present the information fairly and accurately
    5. A member must follow any specific direct marketing regulations when sending marketing and advertising electronically (for example, by fax, email, instant message, or text). A member will need to make sure they comply with these rules when contacting clients by electronic means for marketing purposes (for example when sending a newsletter)
    6. Any electronic marketing communications should only be sent to a client:
      1. if the client has consented to receive it, or has opted in via a website
      2. who has been given the opportunity to opt out from receiving the communications at the time the client’s data was collected
      3. is given the opportunity to opt out each time further communication is sent

A member must respect their client’s information privacy.

Members should note that reference to clients on social media, even where anonymised, may breach clients’ consent and privacy.

Misleading or false information
A member must not provide false or misleading information in public statements, including in statements concerning any psychotherapeutic services they offer.

A member must ensure that all public statements, announcements of services or products, advertising, and promotional activities dealing with the facilities, therapeutic services, or products of the member or the member’s supervisees, comply with this Code. This includes when using letterhead, business cards, and any other public name displays.

A member needs to have the scientific evidence backing up their statements on record. Scientific evidence is usually reported within the scientific and academic communities. Primary sources of evidence should be used where possible. Best practice evidence needs to be backed up research results that are more than anecdotal stories based on a limited and small sample of clients.

A member must not make false or deceptive statements concerning their:

  1. training, experience, or competence
  2. academic degrees and training credentials
  3. institutional or associational affiliations
  4. fees
  5. scientific or clinical basis for, or results, or degree of success of their
    therapeutic services
  6. publications or research findings.

9.2. Advertising

Advertising is a means of communicating with the general public who might or might not be seeking to use a product or service. They created and intended to inform or influence people who receive the advert.
ISPA members will advertise or promote their practices only according to the relevant Advertising Standards bound by the regulatory, customs and professional standards for their service within the jurisdiction in which they practice.

Any advertising a member, or anyone acting on their behalf, undertakes in relation to the member’s professional activities must be factual and verifiable. They cannot make unfounded claims for the efficacy of Strategic Psychotherapy. They must also not exploit the public’s lack of knowledge about health matters, nor instil fear in the public in any way.

9.2.1. Advertising Guidelines

The following advertising guidelines are to be followed by all members and the staff of their practise. The public is entitled to receive accurate, clear information about health services. Unhelpful and inaccurate advertising may compromise the health care choices of the public and must be avoided. These guidelines are intended as guidelines to manage any risk to the public and help members to understand their obligations.

  1. Adverts must uphold confidentiality at all times
  2. Adverts may not share information in a way that is false, misleading, or deceptive, or open to misinterpretation by the general public. As the public can take the advert content out of context, it is the members responsibility to take the necessary steps to prevent this from happening
  3. Adverts may not offer a gift, a discount or other inducement, unless the terms and conditions of the offer are clearly stated and accessible
  4. Adverts may not use testimonials or purported testimonials about the service being offered or the practise itself
  5. Adverts may not create an unreasonable expectation of what is deemed to be beneficial treatment as a result of Strategic Psychotherapy
  6. Adverts may not encourage or indirectly encourage an indiscriminate or unnecessary use of a range of health services.

Any member who intends to use advertising for recruiting new clients’ needs to seek independent and professional advice from a legal adviser or indemnity insurer from within their jurisdiction.

9.3. Media presentations

When a member provides advice or comment by means of public lecture, demonstration, radio or television program, pre-recorded tape, printed article, mailed material, the Internet, or other media, the member must:

  1. take precautions to ensure that the statements are based on appropriate therapeutic literature and practice, including the most current relevant data
  2. exercise a high level of professional judgment
  3. ensure the statements are consistent with the requirements of this Code
  4. take precautions to ensure that the recipients of the information are not encouraged to infer that a professional relationship has been established by the member with them personally
  5. not name an individual member or offer their own therapeutic services through the media, although may refer listeners or readers to a community agency or general practitioner for assistance in obtaining a referral for services.

Reputational responsibilities
A member must not be involved in any behaviour or activity that is likely to damage ISPA or undermine public confidence in strategic psychotherapy. As an ISPA Member all behaviour may be under scrutiny by members of the public and members must ensure they do nothing to bring the practice or profession of strategic psychotherapy into disrepute. This includes actions and communication in virtual space or through traditional media.

ISPA members are expected to act with integrity, dignity and behave respectfully to others on all platforms, whether in person or online.

Awareness of reputational damage to the profession and its permanent record should be considered before engaging in any online dialogue/dispute, in particular social media platforms.
It is possible to undermine public confidence by your conduct in professional practice or in your personal life generally.

9.4. Testimonials

Members must always pay particular attention to protecting and securing the identity of their clients. This includes their name, location, and any other identifying criteria that a reasonable person my use to determine their identity.

No solicitation or use of testimonials
A member must not solicit or utilize testimonials from clients or former clients or utilize testimonials from any other source regarding any of their professional activities, to solicit clients. This standard is not intended to prohibit a member from advertising their workshops or other educational services for professionals by utilizing testimonials from other professionals who have attended previous offerings of those workshops or other educational services.

When case material is used for case studies, reports, or publications the clients informed consent must be obtained wherever possible and their identity must be effectively disguised. Any discussion of their strategic psychotherapy with other professionals should be purposeful and not trivializing.

9.5. Referrals

All ISPA members will refer any and all clients they are not qualified to handle.

All referrals to other professionals will contain enough relevant information to enable them to make an initial decision to see the client. No further information may be added. The client needs to agree to the referral.

Privacy and security of data needs to be considered at all stages of the referral

All referral forms and information received from other professionals need to be stored securely whether the client is taken on or not. Any report given back to the original referrer needs to only deal with the topic of the referral and the final outcome achieved by the client. The client needs to agree to the sharing of this information. All aspects of confidentiality and informed consent must be adhered to.

10. Disciplinary Practice

10.1. Ethical Conduct and Practice committee

ISPA has an Ethical conduct and Practice subcommittee who handle member queries and respond to complaints. The ISPA Secretary is the person to whom these issues need to be referred.

10.2. Discipling breaches of the code

Should a member breach this Code of Conduct or be reported as having allegedly breached this Code of Conduct, then the ISPA Disciplinary Policy and Guidelines will be followed.

Please refer to the ISPA Disciplinary Policy and Guidelines for further information

10.3. Right of Appeal

Every member has the right to appeal a decision which is made regarding any allegation of their breaching the ISPA Code of Conduct and Practice.

The ISPA Disciplinary Policy and Guidelines contains further information on how the appeal may be actioned by the member.

11. Application of the Code

This code is deemed to apply to all members of the ISPA regardless of level, modality, environment, country, employment, or type of strategic psychotherapy in which they are engaged including for example but not exhaustively, such strategic psychotherapy modes as:

  1. Couple
  2. Family
  3. Group
  4. Individual
  5. Children

This code is also deemed to include those members of the Association engaged in providing associated strategic psychotherapy services, For example:

  1. Education and training in strategic psychotherapy and or psychotherapy related fields
  2. Executives of the ISPA association
  3. Members of committees – standing or ad hoc of ISPA in the execution of their duties
  4. Research
  5. Supervision.

12. References

Given the International nature of ISPA members and their potential for treating clients internationally, this Code of Conduct and Practice has been drawn up with the different international Association and regulation frameworks in mind.

References:

  1. COAG – the Council of Australian Governments: National Code of Conduct for health care workers, Australia 2015
  2. Psychology Board of Australia
  3. British Psychological Society
  4. American Board of Professional Psychology
  5. Australian Hypnotherapy Council of Australia
  6. International Union of Psychotherapy Science
  7. American Association of Hypnotherapists
  8. Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy
  9. Canadian Hypnosis Association
  10. Association of Hypnosis Professional – Singapore
  11. NZ Society of Clinical & Applied Hypnotherapy
  12. Privacy Acts of Australia, UK, USA, Canada
  13. GDRP Acts of the EU

Appendix 1: Definitions of terms used

The following terms have these meanings throughout the document.

“ISPA” shall refer to the International Strategic Psychotherapists Association. (Inc)

“Member” shall refer to a fully paid up and accepted person who is accredited or meets the membership criteria for membership to ISPA by its bylaws.

“Client” means the person who is receiving strategic or hypnotherapy / psychotherapeutic services. In most cases the references to “client” will mean an individual, couple, family, group, or organisation. Members may also have professional obligations to individuals or entities other than the direct recipient of their services. Examples may include third-party payers and institutions (e.g., correctional centres, hospitals,
schools, etc.) that pay for services for clients under their jurisdiction.

“Confidential information” means information revealed by a client or otherwise obtained by a member. The information must not be disclosed by a member without the informed written consent of the client or the client’s legal guardian.

“Informed Consent” and “Informed Assent” reflect different capacities of a client to accept or reject a service.

  1. “Informed Consent” means the client has been informed, and understands, all relevant significant information that might influence their decision to accept a psychotherapeutic service; has the legal capacity to accept or reject the service and has not been unduly influenced to accept the service.
  2. “Informed Assent” may be sought (subject to any other applicable legal requirements) when a client lacks the legal capacity to accept or reject the service or is compelled by law to accept the service.
    Seeking “assent” means the client has been informed to the fullest extent fully (based on their mental capacity) regarding relevant significant information that might influence their decision to accept the service and has agreed to accept the service. In the event the client lacks legal capacity or is compelled to accept the service but does not lack the mental capacity to understand all relevant significant information that might influence their decision to accept the service, the clients record needs to reflect assent rather than consent. as it serves to emphasize the conditions under which the client agreed to the service.
    The process of seeking “assent” from the client does not substitute for any other legal requirement to seek consent from the client’s guardian, representative, or other substitute decision maker, where applicable.

Legal Rights refer to those client rights protected under laws and statutes of the Country in which the member provides strategic psychotherapy or clinical hypnotherapy services.

Moral Rights refer to the universal human rights a defined by the United Nations Universal declaration of Human Rights that may or may not be protected by existing laws in the country where the services are is practised.

Multiple Relationships occur when a member, when providing a strategic psychotherapy or hypnotherapy service to a client, also has been or is:

  1. In a non-professional relationship (sexual or otherwise) with the same client
  2. In a different professional relationship with the same client
  3. In a non-professional relationship with an associated party
  4. A recipient of a service by the same client

Practice refers to any act or omission by a member that another may reasonably consider to be part of a strategic psychotherapy or hypnotherapy service.

“Practice of strategic psychotherapy” includes:

  • the provision of services to individuals, groups, organizations, or the public, which involves the application of strategic psychotherapy principles, methods, and procedures of understanding, and influencing behaviour, including the principles of learning, perception, motivation, thinking, emotion, and interpersonal relationships,
  • the application of methods and procedures of interviewing, strategic psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, counselling, or research,

Strategic Psychotherapist refers to anyone who is accredited to deliver what a reasonable person would assume to be a strategic psychotherapy or hypnotherapy service. Referred to as Member within this document

Psychotherapy Or Hypnotherapy Service means any service provided by an accredited strategic psychotherapist to a client including but not limited

  • Strategic or Gordian Psychotherapy activities
  • Strategic psychotherapy activities
  • Hypnosis activities

“Professional relationship” means a mutually agreed upon relationship between a member and a client for the purpose of the client obtaining the member’s professional expertise.

“Professional service” means all actions of a member in the context of a professional relationship with a client.

“Psychotherapeutic services” means a service included in the practice of strategic psychotherapy;

“Records” or “Practice Record” includes notes, reports, invoices, completed or partially completed test forms and protocol sheets, test results, interview notes, correspondence, emails, and other documents in whatever form, including information stored in digital form or on audio or videotapes, in the primary control of the member and related in any way to the member’s provision of psychological services to the client.

“Supervisee” means any person who performs strategic psychotherapeutic services under the supervision of a member who is a registered supervisor.

“Supervisor” means a person who is an experienced strategic psychotherapist and has become accredited as a clinical supervisor for ISPA

“Legal Guardian” In the case of a minor who is not competent to give consent or a legally incompetent adult, their legal guardian is considered the client for decision making purposes except in respect of the following issues:

  1. issues directly affecting the physical or emotional safety of the individual, such as sexual or other exploitive dual relationships; and
  2. issues specifically reserved to the individual and agreed to by the legal guardian before rendering such services, such as confidential communications in a therapy relationship.

Meaning of “sexual harassment”
In this Code, “sexual harassment” means sexual solicitation, physical advances, or verbal or nonverbal conduct that is sexual in nature that occurs in connection with the member’s activities or roles as a member, and that:

  • is unwelcome, offensive, or creates a hostile workplace or therapeutic environment; or
  • is sufficiently severe or intense to be abusive to a reasonable person in the context.

For these purposes, “sexual harassment” any unwanted or unwelcome sexual behaviour where a reasonable person would have anticipated the possibility that the person harassed would (feel offended, humiliated, or intimidated.) It has nothing to do with mutual attraction or consensual behaviour. Some types of sexual harassment may also be criminal offences may consist of a single intense or severe act, or multiple persistent or pervasive acts.